Committee on Professional Ethics v. Baker

492 N.W.2d 695 (1992)

From our private database of 46,000+ case briefs, written and edited by humans—never with AI.

Committee on Professional Ethics v. Baker

Iowa Supreme Court
492 N.W.2d 695 (1992)

  • Written by Rose VanHofwegen, JD

Facts

Financial planner Rex Voegtlin presented estate-planning seminars touting the benefits of living trusts as a way to avoid probate, which he claimed took too long and cost too much. Voegtlin sent wealthy individuals newsletters advertising the seminars and teamed up with attorney and bank-trust officer James Miller to present them. Attorney William Baker (defendant) accepted referrals to prepare estate-planning documents for clients Voegtlin landed, provided sample forms for Voegtlin to use, and advised him about his newsletters. But Voegtlin and Miller decided which estate-planning documents clients needed, not Baker. After seminars Voegtlin offered free consultations and information forms. Then, Voegtlin and Miller consulted with potential clients about their financial goals and recommended appropriate trusts. Only after making those decisions did Miller and Voegtlin refer clients to Baker. Voegtlin even provided a supplemental financial-planning letter explicitly stating that he recommended certain estate-planning instruments. Not once did Baker counsel against living trusts that Voegtlin recommended. A year into the arrangement, the Iowa State Bar Association’s ethics commission (plaintiff) published formal opinions finding attorney participation in living-trust programs like Voegtlin’s improper. Baker was bothered that he was the only attorney still receiving Voegtlin’s referrals, but Baker continued, accepting about 100 over two years, and those referred clients paid him about $40,000 in fees. Iowa began investigating Voegtlin for practicing law without a license, and the ethics commission initiated disciplinary proceedings against Baker. The commission recommended publicly reprimanding Baker for aiding another in the unauthorized practice of law, allowing others to influence his professional judgment in a way that created a conflict of interest, and accepting improper referrals. The Iowa Supreme Court considered the commission’s recommendation on how to discipline Baker.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Lavorato, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 742,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.

    Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students.

    Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee

Here's why 742,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 46,000 briefs, keyed to 986 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Access this case brief for FREE

With a 7-day free trial membership
Here's why 742,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
  • Reliable - written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students
  • The right length and amount of information - includes the facts, issue, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents
  • Access in your class - works on your mobile and tablet
  • 46,000 briefs - keyed to 986 casebooks
  • Uniform format for every case brief
  • Written in plain English - not in legalese and not just repeating the court's language
  • Massive library of related video lessons - and practice questions
  • Top-notch customer support

Access this case brief for FREE

With a 7-day free trial membership